‘Acid attack left me with a fear of the unknown’

Lauren Trent was one of the clubbers injured in an acid attack by Arthur Collins in April.

Collins, an ex-boyfriend of TOWIE star Ferne McCann, has now been sentenced to 20 years in jail with a further five years on licence.

Here, Lauren tells her story:

I was celebrating my 22nd birthday with my best friend Sophie at the time of the attack. We were invited on to a friend’s table.

We were about to leave – probably about two minutes before it happened. As I bent down to get my bag, that’s when the acid struck.

Acid attack

Video: Clubbers hold their faces after acid attack

All I really remember of that night is the dancefloor. Everyone just suddenly looked like they had been swallowed up.

I remember the sheer panic – and 10 seconds later, when I touched my neck, skin was coming off in my hands.

I remember coming out of the bathroom after dousing myself in water to find victims with their faces missing. Their faces hanging off. People were just screaming in pain.

Then I saw my best friend. The acid had affected her whole face and her eye. She couldn’t see.

I knew it was acid, but she didn’t. I had to sit there and tell her to keep dousing herself in water.

Arthur Collins

Image: Collins has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for the attack

That night is hard for me. Everything is that crystal clear – and it is sad. I would never wish that situation on anyone, and I wouldn’t wish to go through that again.

It has definitely changed me. Before the attack I was really outgoing. I still am – and to a certain extent I would like to think that I haven’t let this affect me – but there are moments when I cry or get angry. There was no reason for the attack.

It has affected my actions and thoughts on a daily basis. When I get on the Tube or a fight breaks out, or someone throws a drink, the first thing that goes through my head is: are they carrying acid? Are they going to throw acid?

I have been left with a fear of the unknown, and a fear of people I don’t know.

The sentence given to Arthur Collins sets a standard – but whether justice has been served, I don’t know.

More from Opinion

The sentence doesn’t change what’s happened.

It sets a standard for anyone out there who thinks throwing acid at people is OK. It is not OK – this is a serious crime with mental and physical scars.